Fairbanks addresses MVNU community for final time as president
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Mount Vernon, Ohio
On Thursday, January 25, E. LeBron Fairbanks addressed the Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) community for the final time as its president. The service took place in the R.R. Hodges Chapel/Auditorium and was open to the public.

As the institution's fifth president, Fairbanks has faithfully served MVNU and the surrounding Knox County, Ohio community for 18 years. During his tenure, much growth and change was witnessed by all on MVNU's campus:

  •  Enrollment increased to 2,670 (150 percent increase)
  •  Operating budget to $43 million (300 percent increase)
  •  New and expanded academic programs for undergraduate
  • and graduate students taught in traditional and non-traditional formats
  •  University transition
  •  Discipline-specific national accreditation
  •  Midwest regional academic recognition
  •  New academic and resident life facilities
  •  Addition of eight satellite campuses
  •  Development of Campus Ministries division
  •  Cultural diversity initiatives
  •  Property expansion from 279 to 405 acres
  •  MVNU endowment expanded to $12.6 million (400 percent increase)
  •  Debt burden ratio reduced to 2.1 percent
  •  Foundation Board created to manage endowment and university funds
  •  Strategic plans and leadership agendas to guide the university through the decade

There have been a few things, however, that did not and will not change. Through Fairbanks' years at MVNU, he and those in his charge have challenged students to:

  •  Believe God can use them in the world for the cause of Christ, regardless of their academic majors
  •  View themselves as global Christians with a world mission
  •  Embrace the theological tradition of the Church of the Nazarene and the lifestyle guidelines of the denomination and MVNU
  •  Live their lives as holy men or women of God following graduation, regardless of where their vocation takes them

In the days ahead, Fairbanks and his wife, Anne, who has been equally dedicated in serving MVNU and its constituents, will spend a few months in Florida following the February 1 transition date for incoming president Daniel Martin. Fairbanks intends to finish writing a book he has been working on for several years. In addition, he will chair a Missional Review team assessing the Church of the Nazarene International Board of Education (IBOE) and the Education Commissioner.

The Fairbanks will then travel to The Netherlands in late March where LeBron will participate in meetings of the International Course of Study Advisory Committee (ICOSAC) and IBOE. They also plan to return to European Nazarene College (EuNC) for the fall 2007 semester to teach in EuNC's extension program throughout Europe.

In his final report to the Board of Trustees in November 2006, Fairbanks recalled the words of former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, who stated:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong stumbles, or when the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dirt and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly┬┐who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat."

To this, Fairbanks responded, "I want my epitaph to state that I was `a man in the arena,' not in an isolated ivory tower pontificating about leading a faith community. I have striven `valiantly' to be a servant leader to this academic community of faith."

MVNU held a Farewell Celebration for the Fairbanks in December, where they were honored with a variety of tributes, memories, and recognitions. They will be sorely missed at MVNU and within the community.
--MVNU (Note: All funds expressed in U.S. dollars.)